The Halting Point

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Death of Adsense Article Just A Front For Spammers?

I've been seeing links all over the net for an eBook called The Death of Adsense. So, since my blog was getting crap AdSense results, I tried to download it to read. It didn't work for whatever reason after I used my spam email account, so I decided to do a little research.

At the bottom of the page is a link to TheListVirus. Upon arrival, you see the image posted on the left (click image for larger version). It reads:

    14 Days
    31,500 Opt-Ins
    Highest Alexa Rank During Campaign #424
    The Virus Is Spreading!

Doing a little more digging, I found this blog post through Technorati linking it to a Scott Boulch and mentions an affiliate program which you can see login links for on the main product page. He now has several others called Life After Adsense? and one other book I can't find the webpage for. The affiliate program pays people $.50 for every person they get to submit their email address to download the eBook. But wait you ask...why is this bad? Its a free eBook right? Yes, it is.

But there is something very fishy about all of this, and I recommend nobody else downloads it. They are collecting email addresses for SOMETHING. And they do not list a privacy policy which is about as big a red flag as you can get. Wonder why...

With your help Diggers, we can uncover the shady mystery behind this. If this were really all about Adsense, they wouldn't be collecting emails, nor would TheListVirus exist. I found a blog entry here that suggests this is a viral campaign to build up buzz and generate opt-in leads for this guys launch of his own ad network. I think this is a damn good guess.

But please Diggers, assist with the research, try to cut through all the affiliate spammers trying to push this product and find some REAL information! Help discover the connection! And please for the love of god do not sign up for this eBook after you read this article. I am not promoting it (you can tell because I did not include a referral ID when I linked his site) and want others to stop.

Please post your findings in the comment section below, this way if there are a lot of negative findings, we can get the word out by having them all in one place. Also, please Digg this story to get more people involved. Yes, there are ads on my blog here, but I really don't make anything off of them, and this is not about driving blog traffic. This is about stopping a future spammer and fraudster.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ruby Tuesday's New TV Spots, A Step In The Right Direction

Ruby Tuesday recently embarked on a new campaign featuring their triple prime burgers and I have to say I am now both impressed and hungry. As someone who has advertising experience with the QSR/Fast-Casual Restaurant segment (for those not in the know, QSR stands for Quick Service Restaurant like McD's, etc.) I know that they have been lumped together with the likes of Friday's and Applebees, although perhaps on the higher end of those. Well, these spots definitely show they are trying to move up even further and establish themselves as sort of a "gourmet" fast-casual destination. And they work.

Not only is the music catchy (and if anybody knows the name of the tune I'd love to download it), but they use interesting and dynamic screen divisions during the spot which serve as transitions between each shot. You can see the first spot in the campaign below, and feel free to check out the second one that is available so far at the Ruby Tuesday Commercials page of their site. Not sure yet who the agency and director/producer is on these spots yet but if any of you know post it in the comments section.

While the ads aren't that unique in and of themselves, they are just well produced, pleasing, and get the message across. Yes, they could be a bit more creative...I mean, how many times have you seen a restaurant promoting an item saying how delicious it is and talking about the quality of their ingredients and the passion of the people who make the food...but I do want to give them credit for making an excellent example of those types of spots.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

PPP Team Invades Today Show?

So the PayPerPost team made a bunch of signs and basically made a bunch of signs and shirts promoting their site and went to see the Today Show. Interesting Guerilla Marketing tactic and definitely a smart approach for a fledgling company. The main news here though is that apparently there are VERY hot girls that help run PayPerPost. I'm not sure what their names are, but all of them are very doable. I have to admit though, the video is a bit long and boring in many parts. I think they need to show the girls more, perhaps modeling the t-shirts. Needs to be trimmed down QUITE a bit for it to go viral as typical viewers don't have that kind of attention span. Also, the end bit makes them look quite retarded. Reminiscent of the infamous "fist bump" in the viral video.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Anime Music Video Mashup With Over 100 Anime Titles

This person has WAY too much time on their hands. The creation of this video took this guy a full year to do because he not only had to edit the video together, he also had to ROTOSCOPE THE FUCKING CHARACTERS IN EACH FRAME! Basically what that means is that he went through all of these scenes....and traced an outline of the bits he wanted to use in his video in every single frame of animation. Then he put them together in video editing software and through some great editing managed to not only make the characters look like they are racing, but also have them acting and fighting in a way that makes it appear they are interacting with each other.

Click here to see his comments on the sidebar which details all of the anime titles used (over 100!). Apparently he also won a bunch of well-deserved awards for this. Man...I made a rotoscoped 5 second video of myself wielding a lightsaber once and that took me 2 hours. And that was BASIC. I can only imagine the living hell this guy put himself through for an entire year.

Transparent Paid Blogging

So while using the PayPerPost service, I keep learning more new things about it, for example they maintain a blog where members actually post about using the service and use actual photos of themselves! Of course, this being the net, they could easily be fake, however it seems a lot of these people are every day Joe Blogger who don't mind people knowing that they get paid to advertise on blogs. And oddly enough some of them are making quite a bit of money with some topping $1400 per month. Now I'm not saying that to pitch the service, I'm just genuinely amazed that people could make that much with this since the vast majority of the opportunities are only for a couple bucks each. Do these people have lives?!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jeni Mattson's Sweet Ass Lockpick Business Card

Let me start by saying that Jeni Mattson is my new favorite graphic designer of the month. Be sure to check out her work for her other after you're done looking at this as it is equally as skillful and creative albeit slightly more "inside the box" (no pun intended).

Moving of Jeni's clients, Melvin, commissioned her to create a business card to highlight his mischievous nature as a hacker and entrepreneur. So what does she do? She creates a business card that breaks down into a fully functional set of friggin lockpicks! Talk about attention getting.

Kinda makes me wish for a set that could be put back into card form though like those credit-card sized utility tool cards that Victorinox makes. But this just goes to show that it really does pay to have a good designer create your identity. In fact, while at art school I learned that if you're smart, even if you are a talented graphic designer, it is always good to have someone else at least create some concepts for you based on a description of yourself and some parameters you give them. Often times they will not only surprise you, but spark several ideas of your own as to how you would like to brand yourself. Also, for those of you who already have business cards for your job, you should really consider getting personal business cards. Think of how useful they would be for times when you would rather people focus on who you are and how you express yourself versus what you do for a living. Plus, you can put information on there you woudn't typically find on your everyday business card such as your personal email address, your cellphone number, your personal stats, dating preferences etc.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

PayPerPost vs. Adsense

Yes, this is a sponsored post, but it is an opinion based one so I am free to share my opinion whatever it may be. Basically, the question is which has worked better for me, Adsense or PayPerPost. I joined PayPerPost to make money with my blog because honestly, since my blog has been up for several months now, I haven't made more than $10 from the two Google Adsense units I have on the page. And to be quite honest, I am getting paid $10 for spending less than 15 minutes writing this post.

Is it worth it to me to do this? OF COURSE! As long as I have the freedom to select opportunities that allow me to maintain my journalistic integrity by choosing whether or not I give a positive or negative viewpoint on something, I am ok with being paid to discuss a certain topic. In fact, the truth behind PayPerPost is that people are paying more for the value of the backlinks they get which helps them on search engines they they are for the actual content of the posts.

So while I doubt the big blogs funded by the likes of Federated Media and Blogads and such would ever consider using the service since they have the traffic volume to justify PPC (Pay Per Click, like Adsense), this type of service is really great for small to mid-size blogs like The Halting Point to help us writers make a little cash on the side, which is basically 100% profit for those of us who use free hosting services like Blogger or Wordpress.

I think as long as bloggers don't completely sell out by selecting opportunities that allow both positive and negative viewpoints, its a win/win for everybody.

HP cameras have option to make you look thinner, more insecure.

HP now offers a feature on their cameras that allow digital slimming. Basically you take a picture, select the function, and it squashes the middle of the image to make you look thinner supposedly. Based on the before/after shots above, I wouldn't say its worth its weight in gold (no pun intended). However what WOULD be interesting to see is how many people on internet dating sites this will disappoint and enrage when they find out their date took all her photos with one of these babys and is 10 lbs. heavier than advertised.

I mean, I understand we all want to look good for people, but do you really want to be known as someone who only looks good when viewed in a digitally altered photo? I mean, if you are one of the individuals with low self-esteem who is considering purchasing this camera, perhaps there are better ways you could spend your money, such as joining a health club, buying excercise equipment, seeing a therapist...the list goes on.

Or how about we take it to the other end of the spectrum since people who buy these cameras for this feature are obviously not too interested in actually WORKING at looking better and losing weight. Why not start saving up for liposuction and a tummy tuck? We know how guilty you are of constantly changing channels between MTV and The Plastic Surgery channel.

If you know of someone guilty of using one of these, please don't laugh directly to their faces as that might cause them to have an emotional breakdown that could potentially lead to them running to the nearest restroom to purge. Instead, compliment them on their extra meat, make a negative remark about how models are too skinny anyway and then quietly spread the word amongst people that this person is insecure, has low self-esteem and zero work ethic.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for supporting overweight people who want to lose weight and ACTUALLY WORK AT IT, but this is one of the most pathetic things I've seen in a long time and my heart truly goes out to those people who are mentally weak enough to feel the need to buy a camera with this feature.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Digg hit by PayPerPost

As a member of PayPerPost, it has been interesting to see the opportunities that have been flooding in. I've seen SEO spammers try to hype up affiliate links of theirs that go to link farms, I've seen company's ask for positive reviews of products people have never tried, and now I've seen someone try to get posters to digg up their article on their blog.

I just took the following opportunity from some guy trying to make money blogging and the Opportunity text read as follows:
    Check out this Digg by a fellow PayPerPoster.
    _Advertising_Revolution_Has_Begun What do you think about what Dan has to say? If you dig it digg it.
The opportunity pays $12, so for the 15 minutes or so I spent making this post, I made $12. And, there is nothing in this opportunity saying I must digg his story. I personally did not find it digg worthy, so I did not digg it, just wrote about it. What is interesting to read though the comments on the actual digg article page most of the comments are understandably from PayPerPosters like myself. While you would think it would be nothing short of people astroturfing, they are actually providing some interesting discussion. However I don't digg up an article for its discussion, I digg it up for being interesting, so no digg.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Naked Protest Promotes Launch of Outdoor Juice Campaign

Naked Juice kicked off its major outdoor advertising campaign today in a bold non-traditional move by staging a protest in front of the Tribune building in downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue.

According to on-scene Naked PR manager Rachel Kenney who was kind enough to let me interview her, the Naked employees and giant fruit people (hired talent) wielding picket signs, free drinks, chapstick and stickers were speaking out against the evils of preservatives, added sugar and inferior juices.

The signs bore slogans like "Say no to added sugar" and "Down with free radicals", while friendly giant fruit started breakdancing in the circle they had formed.

According to Rachel, the outdoor campaign launch this was kicking off is the company's first outdoor media campaign. It will feature billboards, urban panels (large signs in front of subway entrances), wild postings and cabvertising (ads on cabs) with 60 cabs total having ads on them and 30 being fully wrapped.

While she could not comment on the campaign's budget, she stated that it was very small, which is partly why it is being bolstered by these events. However Naked has a tradition of promoting itself through grassroots efforts and word of mouth campaigns. To quote Rachel in an earlier preview article from PROMO, "Naked Juice prefers to spend the majority of our marketing budget on grassroots efforts to really connect with our consumers, we're very interactive with our consumers."

Definitely a great surprise for me today as I walked (more like sprinted) out of work early today. I thought it was just going to be some little demonstration, but it was fully backed up with a selection of sample drinks in several flavors (I chose the delicious mango one), a Green Machine flavored chapstick, a sticker and a card directing me to enter the printed ID code on it at the Naked Juice survey site to participate and get free promo junk.

While I definitely appreciated the free swag, the best part of course was the cute girls helping with the promotion. I'm not quite sure who was a Naked employee or hired help, but they definitely made me wish their next promotion was a bit more true to their company name.

I took a few small video clips but unfortunately I cannot figure out how to successsfully convert the craptastic .3g video format into something that will upload to YouTube (please place howto's in comments if you know how!) so these pictures will have to suffice. I will update later if I can figure out how to get them to post.

Be sure to catch their next protest for some cute girls, free swag and strange giant fruit people at the Lincoln Park Zoo tomorrow (Sat. the 16th) from 10am-5pm.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hilariously Creepy Vintage Ads

Found a great post on vintage ads on Boing Boing this morning. Some of these are absolutely brilliant such as the one pictured at the left (be sure to click it for full size). I really wish agencies produced more ads like these, but of course we have to be politically correct and not mock old people and their senile agitation. And I can only imagine what the women's rights groups would do if they saw the ad who's headline reads: "But lady..."dishpan hands" make you look older than a wrinkle does!!". Sounds to me like this should be Dove's next campaign. If anybody is old enough to have been around when these were circulating, I'm curious, what were the thoughts of the time about them? Did they find them nearly as hilarious as we do today? Obviously cultural changes affect a lot of that, but some of them are just pure gold.

PayPerPost? Whats the real story?

So there's been this internet service making the rounds on blogs called PayPerPost that essentialy pays people to post ads on blogs in the form of blog entries. The Halting Point has started experimenting with this service, and while I had some initial concerns about the ethics of it, I have found that you can choose to only write about opportunities that allow you to give either positive OR negative feedback, which means I get paid for mentioning something, even if I don't like it and tear them a new one. Which means I write more great Editorial For Geeks, which means you readers get more fun stuff to read!

So I was curious about this service and honestly, I think it is backed by all of the top blog advertising sales companies like BlogAds and Federated Media in order to drum up interest in advertising on blogs. You see, the big hurdle has been finding a way to get credible bloggers to push products, and this service offers to pay them WAY more than services such as Google's Adsense do if they are a small to mid-size blog that can't pull in the pageviews like the big boys. Once bloggers are more open to doing this, advertisers will flock to them as has started happening with this service.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Charlie Brown Menorah? The Hanukit, A Menorah Made From Matches

The Reddish Design Studio has created what I can only describe as the Jewish equivelant to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Behold, the Hanukit! Featuring an aluminum "candle" holder, you simply stick the matches in, lightem up, and read those blessings fast!

This actually reminds me a lot of my attempt at making a homemade ghetto menorah senior year of college when I discovered that not only does Target NOT carry menorahs, they don't even carry the candles. Fortunately I was able to find the candles at a supermarket and since I didn't have a menorah, I decided to craft one out of tinfoil.

    I said my blessings as I lit the candles and when I was done,
    I went to play some computer games and have some fun.
    While in the middle of a shooting spree,
    I noticed a reflection on my monitor,
    What could it be?

    It seemed the candles were burning very brightly.
    So I turned around and startled slightly.
    Flaring up in my room, on top of my TV,
    The whole friggin menorah was ablaze,
    How could this be?!

    I frantically ran over to douse the the flame,
    Nearly tripping and killing myself, I have my backpack to blame.
    I put it out promptly and made a firm decision,
    Next year I'd have a Hanukkah Bush instead, screw the tradition!
Hmm, not bad for an impromptu Hanukkah poem. Anyway, great little product, and they have a cool diagram which you can see below!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Paid Search vs. Organic Search?

So I'm beginning to think about advertising for The Halting Point. In preparation I've begun research of paid search advertising. I learned a few things from the Apogee site when I found it researching some of the industry terms, but I'm not quite sure how much of it is applicable for me since I do not really have a way of monetizing my site yet. Just trying to build my readership. I guess if I ever officially build in advertising into this site then things like setting bid limits will be important to me but not at this point.

Have any of you readers had experiences with advertising your blog?

Picture of the Day: Creepy realistic Mario Brothers

Click the image for the full-size version.

Found this story on Digg this morning. Apparently the artist's name is Handre and he's selling his video game prints through the AwfulMart. Oddly enough I don't see this particular print for sale there, but it is easily my favorite. Who would have thought Mario was hung like a Koopa?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Video of .50 caliber sniper rifle gibbing people in Afghanistan (GORY!)

In the recent Gears of War "realistic headshot gore" story that made the front page of Digg today there was mention of a video in the comments section making the rounds showing a .50 caliber sniper rifle and what it does to a body when it hits. This video shows several different targets fragged in the most truthful sense of the word. Warning, this gory video is not for the faint of heart as it contains flying limbs and brain goo. Also, be sure to Digg the video I posted of this on Digg by clicking here and clicking "Digg It".

Also, someone in the Digg story I posted has said that these are marmots being shot. However if you look at :40 into the video, that looks a helluva lot like a human arm flying off...I wasn't aware marmots had human-like appendages. Food for though.